Is your sponsorship paying off?

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To get a handle on the total impact of sponsorship on both sales and the brand, we recommend a three-point measurement framework.

Measure activation activities

Some people think a sponsorship begins and ends with signing a sponsorship fee, but that's just the starting point. Most sponsorship dollars, time and energy go for activation-what you do to bring the sponsorship to life, such as mentioning your sponsorship on packaging, promoting it at an event and including it in TV advertising. None of this comes cheap. According to Velocity Sports & Entertainment's Michael Reisman, a company can spend between two and four times the cost of sponsorship rights in their activation activities. To make it pay off, it is essential to leverage the sponsorship across all relevant marketing tactics. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to track everything you're doing related to the sponsorship to ensure you're executing against your plan and getting the biggest sponsorship bang for your buck.

Measure brand impact

When you are engaged in sponsorship, you are actually managing two brands: your own and the sponsorship's. That means that the two need to be aligned. Nautica sponsors some 60 events a year, according to Chris Fuentes, VP-marketing at Nautica. He identifies its core values around the sailing community. For that reason, Mr. Fuentes says the company seeks out sponsorship partners that reflect its values, working with groups such as the U.S. Sailing Team and the Chinese Sailing Team.

ING U.S. Financial Services, meanwhile, sponsors four U.S. running events including the New York City Marathon. "Distance running provides a great analogy for financial services and retirement planning," says Steve Baskin, VP-head of sponsorships for ING U.S. Financial Services. "ING supports running because both financial planning and running take a similar journey toward success."

Beyond brand affinity, it's important to understand how your sponsorship is affecting your brand health and awareness. This can be done through special surveys that are tied to a particular event.

Measure impact on sales

Using "econometric modeling" isn't as difficult as it sounds. This is a necessary component of measuring sponsorship if you are going to understand the impact of all your marketing activities on the sponsorship. A special type of statistical modeling, it overlays all your sponsorship activities and links them to sales. Within one model, you're able to assess the impact of your investments across all your tactics from signage to advertising to an exhibit booth, as well as understand the effect of competitive activity and environmental issues.
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